Paganism Five

(NOTE: Some of the themes of these articles may not be appropriate for young readers. Please keep that in mind when sharing this information).

It is written:

“The LORD’S Spirit spoke through me. His word was on my tongue.” (2 Samuel 23:2)

In our studies of paganism, we have been relying on the revelation of God through nature (also known as General Revelation-Romans 1:18-20; 2:14-15), and through Scripture (the Bible).

Yet can we trust the Bible?

That is what we will be studying.

When I study with my friends who are pagan, the first thing we seek to establish is whether or not the Bible is the Word of God. To examine that, we must first ask if the Bible claims to be God’s Word. It would be dishonest to claim that the Bible is God’s Word to mankind if the Bible never made such a claim!

Geisler and Nix have documented some of the evidence that the Old Testament claims to be the Word of God:

“According to present Jewish division of the Old Testament, the books of the prophets include the former prophets (Joshua, Judges, Samuels, and Kings) and the latter prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the twelve minor prophets). These books also claim divine authority. “Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law of God” (Josh. 24:26). God spoke to men in Judges (1:1, 2; 6:25) and 1 Samuel (3:11) who spoke and wrote to all Israel (1 Samuel 4:1; cf. 1 Chron. 29:29). The latter prophets abound in claims of divine inspiration. The familiar “Thus says the LORD” with which they introduce their message occurs hundreds of times. From Isaiah to Malachi the reader is bombarded with divine authority. Chronologically the Old Testament ends with this section known as the Prophets, and there is no subsequent Old Testament testimony to their inspiration. However, there are references within the Prophets to other prophetic writers who composed their books at an earlier time. Daniel considered Jeremiah’s book inspired (Dan. 9:2). Ezra recognized the divine authority of Jeremiah (Ezra 1:1) as well as that of Haggai and Zechariah (Ezra 5:1). In a very important passage Zechariah refers to the divine inspiration of Moses and the prophets who preceded him, calling their works “the law and the words that the LORD of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets” (7:12). These passages leave little doubt that the books contained in the section of the Jewish Scriptures known as the Prophets bear the claim of divine inspiration….Psalms, the first book in this collection, was written largely by David who claimed that his psalms were Spirit-given to the very words (2 Sam. 23:2). Song of Solomon, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes have been traditionally ascribed to Solomon as the record of God-given wisdom (see 1 Kings 3:9–10) and dreams from God (1 Kings 3:5, 15). Proverbs contains specific claims to divine authority. Ecclesiastes (12:13) and Job (chap. 38) both end as an authoritative teaching. Daniel’s book is based on a series of visions and dreams from God (Dan. 2:19; 8:1; etc.). Several books have no explicit claim to divine inspiration, such as Ruth, Esther, Song of Solomon, Lamentations, Ezra–Nehemiah, and Chronicles. If Ruth was written by the prophet Samuel as a part of Judges, then it would come under the general claim of a prophetic writing. By the same token, Lamentations, the work of Jeremiah, is prophetic. The Song has already been noted as a work of the God-given wisdom of Solomon. Jewish tradition ascribes Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah to Ezra the priest and to Nehemiah who functioned with prophetic authority in the repatriation of Israel from the Babylonian captivity (cf. Ezra 10 and Neh. 13). The author of Esther is not stated, perhaps to preserve his anonymity in the hostile Persian setting. The point of view in Esther is notably Jewish, and the book provides the written authority for the celebration of the Jewish feast of Purim. This amounts to an implicit claim to divine authority. In summary then, virtually every book of the Old Testament offers some claim to divine inspiration. Sometimes it is the implied authority, but it is usually the explicit claim of “thus says the Lord.” From beginning to end the inspiration of the Old Testament is solidly built on numerous passages, all of which declare their divine origin.” (Norman Geisler & Willam Nix, From God To Us: How We Got Our Bible, 39-40 (Kindle Edition); Chicago; Moody Publishers)

Indeed, the Old Testament claims to be the Word of God!

In our next study, we will examine whether the New Testament makes the same claim of being the Word of God. Then, we will examine various evidences which confirm that the Bible is God’s Word to mankind as we continue our study of paganism.

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